5G Core network slicing using ONAP with Capgemini Engineering 5GC and Kaloom UPF

This blog describes a 5G network slicing demo we did with ONAP as the network slice management component and Capgemini Engineering 5G Core along with the Kaloom UPF.

In an end-to-end 5G network, there are typically three components that come into play:

  • Radio Access Network
  • Transport Network
  • Core Network

These same three components act together and participate in forming an End-to-End 5G network slice. In addition, a slice management component is required, and the Linux Foundation Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) is one comprehensive solution for this. To learn more, see our prior blog on End-to-End 5G network slicing with ONAP. See a conceptual diagram of end-to-end 5G network slicing below.

Figure 1: End-to-end 5G Network Slicing Concept

Next, the diagram below shows a high-level 3rd Generation Private Partnership (3GPP) view of how a network slice looks and lists the different components:

Figure 2: End-to-End 5G Network Slicing Management Components

3GPP has the notion of Communication Service Management Function (CSMF) through which the BSS layer can easily order details of the slice with associated characteristics. Southbound of the CSMF is the Network Slice Management Function (NSMF) which then talks to domain specific Network Slice Subnet Management Functions (NSSMF).

ONAP has constantly been updating the slice management functionality. Currently Options 1 and 4 below are supported. In a recent demo, we at Aarna Networks showed a demo of Option#4 for 5G Core slicing where we used an external NSSMF.

Figure 3: ONAP Network Slicing Implementation Options

Helicopter View of ONAP Slice Management Functionality:

There is a design-time and runtime dileniation in ONAP; hence with respect to slicing, we also have to design certain models in ONAP which act as the design time aspect of the network slicing. The design part is hosted under a component, known as SDC or Service Design & Creation. Next those models are distributed to runtime that consists of CSMF, NSMF, and NSSMF functions. See diagram below.

Figure 4: ONAP Design & Run Time

Process flow for 5G Network Slicing with ONAP:

  • User orders a slice using CSMF
  • ONAP NSMF processes the request and identifies the correct slice template
  • Slice allocates request submitted to internal of external NSSMFs; in this demo we use an external NSSMF for 5G Core
  • The core external NSSMF will call the Capgemin Engineering 5GC REST APIs to configure the slice parameter
  • 5GCore components will configure the components and set the slice values

See the flow below.

Figure 5: ONAP with Capgemini Engineering 5G Core and Kaloom UPF

To see a thorough explanation of these concepts and a recording of a hands-on demo, view a recording of our 5G Core network slicing using ONAP with Capgemini Engineering 5GC and Kaloom UPF technical meetup from one week ago (45 minutes at 1x speed). If you don't have the time, you can watch just the demo portion of the meetup (20 minutes at 1x speed).

A surprisingly large number of companies want to try ONAP network slicing in their labs. If you are one of these companies and need some help, feel free to contact us.

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